Introduction

The poem by Medora Chevalier discusses the dangers that certain species of animals are in. Man has caused this destruction, man is still dreaming about his wonderful existence in the future but it cannot be so.

About the poet

Medora Chevalier is a 21st-century poet. She is a well-known writer of the present day. She writes about contemporary themes. In this poem – Or will The Dreamer Wake? She writes about how the animals would become extinct if they are not protected.

Theme

The poem ‘Or Will the Dreamer wake’ is about the extinction of species like tigers, bears, and whales due to human activities. Repetition of line ‘Or Will the Dreamer wake’ states zero awareness in humans. Poet asks if the humans will realize their deeds or not. 

Stanza 1

Out in the East the jungle listens
The tigress, plaintive, growls in pain,
The great trees hear her breathing, shaking
Inside her still, the new lives wait,
These cubs could be the last ones ever
To freely live and roam and mate.
Our grandchild knows the tiger never
Or will the dreamer wake?

The poetess says that land is depleting because of man’s deeds i.e cutting down forests. Though the poetess mentioned only tiger species, she is referring to all animals that live in the forest. Here the tigress is sad because her species could be the last one as they will disappear from the face of the earth shortly if the environment is not protected.

Chevalier also says that the future generation will never know the tiger as they will be extinct by then. She asks the dreamers i.e. humans if they will realize how they are destroying the environment. She asks us to save the environment before it is too late.

Stanza 2

Far in the North the white bear snuffles
Down in her lair the gleaming snow
She waits for all the life she’s making
Outside the crashing glaciers grow.
These cubs could be the last cubs ever
To freely live and roam and mate.
Our grandchild knows the white bear never
Or will the dreamer wake?

The poetess thinks that the glaciers in the polar regions are melting because of the unusual increase in temperature caused by global warming. The polar bear is snuffling, breathing loudly as she is sad that her species might not live further.

The polar bear wants her babies to grow and she wants to feed them. She is waiting for the arrival of her babies. Though she senses danger, she is not much worried about it as she focuses on the present. The poetess says that we will not see a white bear in the future if we do not save the environment.

Stanza 3

There in the West the song thrush warbles
She weaves her nest to hold her clutch
A long wait now to find a partner
The eggs are laid, there are not much.
These chicks could be the last ones ever
The last to fly and sing and mate.
Our grandchild knows the song thrush never
Or will the dreamer wake?

In this Stanza the poetess says that man has polluted air causing difficulties for birds to survive. The number of birds is going down because of this. The song thrust bird optimistically builds a nest to hold her babies. But she struggles to find a male partner as there are not many birds left. Cellular radiation and the frying of airplanes are the two main problems. The poetess says that the world should do something to save them from extinction. 

Stanza 4

Deep in Ocean South, the whale swims
Her song of birthing fills the seas
Thousands of creatures wait for the moment
The solemn birth that they will see.
This child could sing the final whale song
The last to make the oceans shake.
Our grandchild never hears its mystery
Or will the dreamer wake?

Here the poetess says that the whales celebrate the birth of the last whale child and it is a song of joy and sorrow. Other creatures of the ocean know that it’s going to be the end of the whales. Many creatures like whales are dying due to human interference in the environment. If this is not stopped future generations will not know how mysteriously these creatures disappeared. 

Stanza 5

Here in the center, four directions gather
The path ahead leads up or down
Is this our last bright new world birthing?
Is this our waving as we drown?
This could be our last true moment
Knowing the truth, our choices make.
Our grandchild asks “That was the moment!
And did the dreamer wake?”

The poetess means to say that we have destroyed almost every part of the environment. Here the four directions represent the four continents that the Europeans divided the world in the 16th century. The poetess says that the path ahead is up or down. She means to say that future is uncertain as we Ave ruined the environment.

Chevalier says “Is this our waving as we drown?” Shem means that we seem to be happy but we are descending to our death. A drowning man waves his hand and people who see him might think that he is happy. We are bringing our destruction by not taking care of the environment. If we don’t act now it’s gone forever. We have to make wise choices to protect the planet so that we can survive.